Baseball Clipped By No. 8 North Carolina State, 1-0; Freshman Justin Thomas Dazzles In First Career Start
Quinnipiac baseball freshman Justin Thomas (Enfield, Conn.) held No. 8 North Carolina State scoreless through five innings, but the Bobcats were nipped by the nationally-ranked Wolfpack, 1-0, in Raleigh, N.C. Quinnipiac goes to 4-3 overall while NC State improves to 13-4.
Thomas became the first starting pitcher to face North Carolina State this season without giving up a run, while Thomas and Kevin O'Connell (Glastonbury, Conn.) combined to hold the Wolfpack to its lowest offensive output of the year. Earlier this year, NC State out-scored Quinnipiac's NEC foe Wagner, 43-4, in a two-game set.
Thomas struck out four while scattering seven hits in five innings before exiting the game with Quinnipiac tied, 0-0, with their Top-10 opponent. Thomas faced 25 batters for the day and gave up just one extra-base hit in his first outing, and pitched out of jams with runners in scoring situations in the second and fifth inning.
Thomas was relieved in favor of O'Connell. O'Connell pitched admirably, entering the game in the sixth inning before he gave up an RBI-double to Brett Austin that gave NC State all the offense it needed.
For Quinnipiac, senior captain Chris Migani (Orange, Conn.) was 2-for-4 with a double while Zak Palmer (Mahwah, N.J.) and Tom Donovan (Marshfield, Mass.) also had hits in the loss. Donovan's hit was the Bobcats' first of the game, and moved the junior catcher to second on a walk by Brian Ruditys (Boothwyn, Pa.) with two outs. NC State was able to pitch out of the jam, as NC State starter Logan Jernigan struck-out the last batter he faced on the day.
In the fourth, Migani jumped on the first pitch he saw from, driving the ball to the left-center field gap for a lead-off double. Vin Guglietti (East Haven, Conn.) then struck out swinging, but the catcher couldn't handle the pitch allowing Migani to sneak over to third as Guglietti was thrown out at first. Palmer then drew a walk and stole second after Scott Donaghue (Marlboro, N.J.) popped out, putting runners on second and third with two outs before Mike Blumenthal (Dix Hills, N.Y.) went down swinging to end the Bobcats' threat.
In the sixth, Quinnipiac had the bases loaded with no outs before NC State reliever Andrew Woeck pitched the Wolfpack out of the jam. After Migani singled to knock NC State pitcher Jon Olczak out of the game in favor of Woeck, Guglietti hit a ground ball to short that was misplayed to second base allowing both runners to advance safely. Palmer then dropped down a bunt reached on a fielder's choice by the pitcher to load the bases. Donaghue's hard grounder to third put Migani out at home before Woeck struck-out Blumenthal and Donovan to end the inning - with Donovan running the count full, 3-balls-and-2-strikes, before taking a called third strike.
Quinnipiac returns to action on Wednesday, Mar. 13 when it faces Duke at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C.